Before APPR’s founding, President Jamie Izaks planted his PR roots in both the in-house and agency realms. For this month’s agency seminar, Jamie shared his wealth of experience with our whole team in a media pitching masterclass. Jamie’s presentation broke down the exact steps to increase your chances of securing coverage for our clients.
Setting up a pitch is like warming up your body to exercise; you need to prepare before jumping right in. Before contacting a reporter, take a step back and reflect on the client’s objectives.
With most of our clients being franchises, their number one objective is to drive awareness and leads toward the franchise opportunity, along with existing location support, new opening announcements and executive thought leadership pieces.
The next step is to determine what type of media you’re going after and type of story. In 98 percent of cases, you need more than one pitch. It’s important to be intentional with who you’re targeting; a TV segment is a much different pitch than a feature profile.
When it comes to targeting national and local publications, the deadlines can differ as well. Dailies and weeklies have different timelines than national publications that plan months ahead of time. It’s important to understand how far in advance to start pitching your topic.
Who exactly is going to run this story? Researching reporters is the next step in the process. Think about what makes the most sense for the outlet and reporter. Identifying a reporter’s beat and reviewing recent bylines can help specify your pitch to their background.
For example, Pod 2 recently pitched a new opening for our client, Pancheros Mexican Grill. When researching a local business reporter in New Jersey, the team realized she went to a college where there was a Pancheros location. This personal connection helped secure a response and press coverage for the client. Taking the extra time to research and personalize a pitch can pay off.
You’re finally ready to write your pitch, but where do you start? When looking for inspiration, there are a variety of resources within the agency—from franchisee questionnaires to national pitching sessions to brainstorms—but we challenge our team members to think like a reporter, identify industry trends and pose questions on client calls to get fresh ideas. Engaging with the news is the best way to stay up-to-date on trends and fresh topics.
Overall, persistency is key and follow-ups are always needed. Follow these tips, and you’ll be pitching like our APPR pros.